Dropbox Alerts in Outlook

Get Outlook to show changes in Dropbox folders

Dropbox has one excellent feature, the ‘Events’ view that lists files added, deleted or modified. You can use that feature to get custom Outlook alerts when certain things happen to your Dropbox account, like when a file is added to a shared folder.

http://img.office-watch.com/ow/Dropbox%20RSS%20Rule%201.png image from Dropbox Alerts in Outlook at Office-Watch.com

That list can be read as an RSS feed which means it can be imported into Outlook and trigger rules.

http://img.office-watch.com/ow/Dropbox%2012.png  image from Dropbox Alerts in Outlook at Office-Watch.com

Copy the RSS feed link (from the RSS link top right of the Events page) and create a new RSS feed in Outlook.

Have a look at the RSS feed items from Dropbox. There’s an entry for each file or group of files added, deleted or modified. The folder is also named, as in this example where a file called ‘February 2014.pdf’ has been added to the folder ‘ClaudenPeter’.

http://img.office-watch.com/ow/Dropbox%20RSS%20Rule%202.png image from Dropbox Alerts in Outlook at Office-Watch.com

You can use the words ‘added’, ‘deleted’ or ‘modified’ plus the name of a folder to make an Outlook alert.



  • The folder name is not always given in the Dropbox RSS item. It seems to show up for shared folders or folders used by third-party applications.
  • When actions are taken on a group of files at the same time, the names of each file do NOT appear in the Dropbox RSS feed item. For example “You added January 2014.pdf and 9 more files.”
  • Long file names are shortened in the Dropbox RSS message for example “Daily Report for 12 March 2013 from the reception desk.docx’ might become “Daily Report for 12 March 2013 from…desk.docx’” in the RSS feed.

Now you have the RSS feed in Outlook, you can create a Rule to alert when certain files or folders are changed.

Here’s some example Rules for a Dropbox. This rule alerts when any file is added to your Dropbox account.

http://img.office-watch.com/ow/Dropbox%20RSS%20Rule%203.png image from Dropbox Alerts in Outlook at Office-Watch.com

This rule works when there’s any change to the shared folder ‘ClaudeNPeter’. The RSS item is moved to the Inbox.

http://img.office-watch.com/ow/Dropbox%20RSS%20Rule%204.png image from Dropbox Alerts in Outlook at Office-Watch.com

The final example works when a file is added to the folder ‘ClaudeNPeter’ and will copy the RSS item to the Inbox.

http://img.office-watch.com/ow/Dropbox%20RSS%20Rule%205.png image from Dropbox Alerts in Outlook at Office-Watch.com

Strictly speaking this last rule will trigger on any item with the words ‘added’ and ‘ClaudeNPeter’ in the item. So an added file called ‘ClaudeNPeter’ in any folder will also be detected. We’re assuming the folder name ‘ClaudeNPeter’ won’t be used for a file.

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